A political solution on its own does not necessarily lead to peace. While it is a critical contributor towards enhancing the possibilities of long-term sustainable peace, it needs to be complemented with other processes. A vital process towards a sustainable peace involves Reconciliation.
Experiences in conflict areas have shown that honoring Reconciliation is necessary to finding an inclusive political processes and solution. It is essential in both pre and post-solution situations. There are ample examples in the world which inform us that even if a political solution is reached, it will not lead to peace without Reconciliation. At the same time, a just solution is more likely to be achieved through Reconciliation.
For instance, in the fragmented Naga context, an inclusive solution without reconciliation will not lead to sustainable peace. But, through Naga Reconciliation, their possibilities increase.
As a process, Reconciliation involves addressing differences and exploring the possible future in a sincere and forth right manner. It is about human encounters with the grace that recognizes the existence of the one from whom you are divided. Ultimately, forgiveness in the context of a Reconciliation process is relational, and cannot occur in a vacuum. It is rarely the first step, since it is usually preceded by acknowledging the coexistence principle which is based on a willingness to recognize and accept the existence of the other.
Reconciliation occurs within the interplay of contextual reality, human feelings, moral arguments, and the power of the past with the politics of the future. Reconciliation is never an event, rather a process aimed at transforming human relationships and power dynamics. This eventually results in a new thinking, action and relationships. Reconciliation is a radical proposition that has social, cultural, economic and political implications. It is about dismantling the structures of dominance, divisions and violence, through a process where justice and peace can be experienced.
Reconciliation is not about uniformity or conformity. It is not even important that an agreement is reached on all matters. What is important is to ensure that we treat one another with respect and address differences in a nonviolent manner, focusing on the common good as the paramount objective. Such a process can lead to mutual understanding by affirming a common set of principles and values.
Hence, engaging in Reconciliation with truth is the required step in order to consciously shift thinking from one of victims to survivors. So long as one carries the mentality of victimhood, the justification to perpetuate the negative cycle of hate, mistrust, suspicion and violence will continue.
Different experiences have also shown that not all leaders and members of liberations movements are willing to change their ways. All too often some are unwilling to accept responsibilities for human rights violations and other heinous acts. Yet, it is essential for any Reconciliation process to address human rights violations just as much as it is to bridge political and personal differences.
Genuine Reconciliation needs more than truth-telling. It requires a willingness and confidence to risk changing, and where possible to make restitution or reparation for past mistakes, and the readiness to extend and receive forgiveness.
Above all, Reconciliation takes place when realizing that it is the key to inclusion.